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20 Feb 12 Google plots Chrome web password generator


Google is developing a password-generating tool that will bolt into its Chrome browser.

The technology is designed to painlessly create hard-to-guess passwords when users sign up to websites. Whenever a site presents surfers with a field requiring a password, Chrome will display a key icon, giving users the option of allowing the browser to generate the secret for them. This password, provided a user accepts it and it meets the site’s security criteria, is reused next time the site is accessed.

Google is positioning the technology as an interim workaround for the well-known shortcomings of asking humans to come up with memorable non-trivial passwords, until more websites support OpenID, which Google views as a long-term solution to the problem.*

The ad brokering giant neatly summarises the pitfalls of password use that makes its tool potentially useful:

Passwords are not a very good form of authentication. They are easy to use but they are trivial to steal, either through phishing, malware, or a malicious/incompetent site owner (Gawker, Sony, etc.) Furthermore, since people are so apt to reuse passwords losing one password leaks a substantial amount of your internet identity.

The interim solution, while easier for some than using existing browser-based tools (Password Manager and Browser Sync), is certainly not without its shortcomings, which Google is trying to resolve or minimise.

The technology works using auto-complete. So any site that omits support for auto-complete can’t be protected. “Maybe we can get users to re-authenticate to the browser before logging into such sites,” a post on Google’s Chromium developer blog suggests.

Google plans to enable users to see and perhaps export or print saved passwords from a new web service. Access to this feature is likely to be protected by insisting that users switch on two-factor authentication schemes (perhaps requiring a code from an SMS sent to a registered mobile as well as a password) before allowing access to the technology.

Using Chrome to generate passwords might make Google an attractive target if the credentials are stored in the Chocolate Factory’s cloud. Google downplays such concerns, arguing that there’s already a bullseye painted on its back.

“Google is already a high-value target so this shouldn’t change much,” it notes. “Moreover it’s easier for us to make logging into Google more secure via StrongAUTH than have every site on the internet secure itself. At some point in the future it might also be possible for us to automatically change all of a user’s passwords when we realise that their account is hijacked.”

A more detailed explanation of how the technology might work, featuring screenshots, can be found on Google’s Chromium developer blog here. ®

Bootnote

* Mozilla is promoting its own browser-based alternative to usernames and passwords for website logins. Browser ID operates in much the same way as OpenID, which is already supported by many websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Both systems support decentralised authentication, allowing users to consolidate their digital identities, therefore minimising the need to maintain scores of passwords to log into websites.

Article source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/20/google_browser_password_generation/

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26 Jan 12 Open Source Google Chrome Remixes: 6 Browsers Worth Trying


Once upon a time there was a browser named Firefox — an open source project that many people happily picked up and spun off into their own versions with names like Iceweasel and Pale Moon. Now the same thing has happened with Google Chrome. Its open source incarnation, Chromium, has become the basis for a slew of spinoffs, remixes, and alternative versions.

Naturally, a variant version of a browser needs to be broadly compatible with the original to be useful, but at the same time have enough new features or enhanced functionality to be a compelling alternative. Just as a remix of a song combines something from the original with something new, Chrome spinoffs inherit Chrome’s speed and rendering prowess while striking off in new directions.

[ Also on InfoWorld: 10 must-have Google Chrome add-ons | Battle of the Web browsers | 13 features that make each Web browser unique | Attack of the mobile Web browsers | Learn how to secure your Web browsers in InfoWorld's "Web Browser Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]

When is it worth ditching Chrome for a Chromium-based remix? Some of the spinoffs are little better than novelties. Some have good ideas implemented in an iffy way. But a few point toward some genuinely new directions for both Chrome and other browsers. Here’s a rundown of the ones we think are the most interesting: Chromium, SRWare Iron, Comodo Dragon, RockMelt, CoolNovo, and Chrome itself.

Chromium

The first place to start is the one closest to home. The open source core of Chrome, Chromium is what the browser is before Google adds its branding and integration features. These include things like user metrics (the sending of browsing stats back to Google), crash reporting, the built-in Flash player and PDF viewer, multimedia codecs (MP3, AAC), and the auto-updating system. Folks who lambast Google over privacy issues often recommend using Chromium, which lacks the user tracking features they dislike in Chrome.

Browsing in Chromium is virtually the same experience as using Chrome itself, in big part because many of the missing pieces are made up for in other ways. The lack of the internal Flash plug-in isn’t a problem, for instance, because Chromium can make use of whatever copy of Flash is already installed in Windows.

One potential hurdle is that Chromium isn’t distributed in the same manner as Chrome itself. There are automated builds of Chromium in the maze of directories for Google’s Chromium site, and anywhere from four to five builds a day are created automatically from the latest source code. But because Chromium doesn’t have Chrome’s auto-updater, you need to upgrade Chromium manually.

Another problem is Chromium’s inherent instability. If you simply pick a build, there’s no guarantee it will run properly, so you may have to do some research ferreting out a reasonably stable one. Fortunately, some people have done a little of this legwork for you. For instance, the CRportable project repackages reasonably stable Chromium builds in the PortableApps format, so you can run the browser from a USB key or portable hard drive.

A “portable” version of Chromium, the open source core from which Chrome is derived. The privacy settings at the top have been disabled by the user.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/248719/open_source_google_chrome_remixes_6_browsers_worth_trying.html

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26 Jan 12 6 Google Chrome remixes worth trying




Chromium-based spinoffs bring privacy, security, social networking, and other interesting twists to Google’s Chrome browser

Once upon a time there was a browser named Firefox — an open source project that many people happily picked up and spun off into their own versions with names like Iceweasel and Pale Moon. Now the same thing has happened with Google Chrome. Its open source incarnation, Chromium, has become the basis for a slew of spinoffs, remixes, and alternative versions.

Naturally, a variant version of a browser needs to be broadly compatible with the original to be useful, but at the same time have enough new features or enhanced functionality to be a compelling alternative. Just as a remix of a song combines something from the original with something new, Chrome spinoffs inherit Chrome’s speed and rendering prowess while striking off in new directions.

[ Also on InfoWorld: 10 must-have Google Chrome add-onsBattle of the Web browsers | 13 features that make each Web browser unique | Attack of the mobile Web browsers | Learn how to secure your Web browsers in InfoWorld's "Web Browser Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]

HTML5 Deep Dive

When is it worth ditching Chrome for a Chromium-based remix? Some of the spinoffs are little better than novelties. Some have good ideas implemented in an iffy way. But a few point toward some genuinely new directions for both Chrome and other browsers. Here’s a rundown of the ones we think are the most interesting: Chromium, SRWare Iron, Comodo Dragon, RockMelt, CoolNovo, and Chrome itself.

Chromium
The first place to start is the one closest to home. The open source core of Chrome, Chromium is what the browser is before Google adds its branding and integration features. These include things like user metrics (the sending of browsing stats back to Google), crash reporting, the built-in Flash player and PDF viewer, multimedia codecs (MP3, AAC), and the auto-updating system. Folks who lambast Google over privacy issues often recommend using Chromium, which lacks the user tracking features they dislike in Chrome.

Browsing in Chromium is virtually the same experience as using Chrome itself, in big part because many of the missing pieces are made up for in other ways. The lack of the internal Flash plug-in isn’t a problem, for instance, because Chromium can make use of whatever copy of Flash is already installed in Windows.

One potential hurdle is that Chromium isn’t distributed in the same manner as Chrome itself. There are automated builds of Chromium in the maze of directories for Google’s Chromium site, and anywhere from four to five builds a day are created automatically from the latest source code. But because Chromium doesn’t have Chrome’s auto-updater, you need to upgrade Chromium manually.

Another problem is Chromium’s inherent instability. If you simply pick a build, there’s no guarantee it will run properly, so you may have to do some research ferreting out a reasonably stable one. Fortunately, some people have done a little of this legwork for you. For instance, the CRportable project repackages reasonably stable Chromium builds in the PortableApps format, so you can run the browser from a USB key or portable hard drive.


A “portable” version of Chromium, the open source core from which Chrome is derived. The privacy settings at the top have been disabled by the user.

Article source: http://www.infoworld.com/d/applications/google-chrome-remixes-worth-trying-out-184923

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25 Jan 12 Google Chrome remixes worth trying out




Chromium-based spinoffs bring privacy, security, social networking, and other interesting twists to Google’s Chrome browser

Once upon a time there was a browser named Firefox — an open source project that many people happily picked up and spun off into their own versions with names like Iceweasel and Pale Moon. Now the same thing has happened with Google Chrome. Its open source incarnation, Chromium, has become the basis for a slew of spinoffs, remixes, and alternative versions.

Naturally, a variant version of a browser needs to be broadly compatible with the original to be useful, but at the same time have enough new features or enhanced functionality to be a compelling alternative. Just as a remix of a song combines something from the original with something new, Chrome spinoffs inherit Chrome’s speed and rendering prowess while striking off in new directions.

[ Also on InfoWorld: 10 must-have Google Chrome add-onsBattle of the Web browsers | 13 features that make each Web browser unique | Attack of the mobile Web browsers | Learn how to secure your Web browsers in InfoWorld's "Web Browser Security Deep Dive" PDF guide. ]

HTML5 Deep Dive

When is it worth ditching Chrome for a Chromium-based remix? Some of the spinoffs are little better than novelties. Some have good ideas implemented in an iffy way. But a few point toward some genuinely new directions for both Chrome and other browsers. Here’s a rundown of the ones we think are the most interesting: Chromium, SRWare Iron, Comodo Dragon, RockMelt, CoolNovo, and Chrome itself.

Chromium
The first place to start is the one closest to home. The open source core of Chrome, Chromium is what the browser is before Google adds its branding and integration features. These include things like user metrics (the sending of browsing stats back to Google), crash reporting, the built-in Flash player and PDF viewer, multimedia codecs (MP3, AAC), and the auto-updating system. Folks who lambast Google over privacy issues often recommend using Chromium, which lacks the user tracking features they dislike in Chrome.

Browsing in Chromium is virtually the same experience as using Chrome itself, in big part because many of the missing pieces are made up for in other ways. The lack of the internal Flash plug-in isn’t a problem, for instance, because Chromium can make use of whatever copy of Flash is already installed in Windows.

One potential hurdle is that Chromium isn’t distributed in the same manner as Chrome itself. There are automated builds of Chromium in the maze of directories for Google’s Chromium site, and anywhere from four to five builds a day are created automatically from the latest source code. But because Chromium doesn’t have Chrome’s auto-updater, you need to upgrade Chromium manually.

Another problem is Chromium’s inherent instability. If you simply pick a build, there’s no guarantee it will run properly, so you may have to do some research ferreting out a reasonably stable one. Fortunately, some people have done a little of this legwork for you. For instance, the CRportable project repackages reasonably stable Chromium builds in the PortableApps format, so you can run the browser from a USB key or portable hard drive.


A “portable” version of Chromium, the open source core from which Chrome is derived. The privacy settings at the top have been disabled by the user.

Article source: http://www.infoworld.com/d/applications/google-chrome-remixes-worth-trying-out-184923

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